An old family recipe is a passion worth sharing for Ahwatukee Foothills resident Lyn McGuire.

McGuire recently opened Nonna’s Italian Market next to Phoenix Dance Cooperative on the Warner-Elliot Loop. In her small store front McGuire sells her homemade Italian sauces that she has been making from scratch for more than 20 years.

“It all started when I was 7 or 8,” McGuire said. “My dad was an amazing cook... The older I got he’d tie an apron on me and get me on a chair and show me how to peel a potato. By the time I was a teenager I was gutting fillets of fish. You name it, he made it. The Italian side was from my family from the south of Italy. Nonna made Sugo (marinara). I grew up eating that as well and her creations. The older I got I put my own little spin on it. The basic recipe came from my grandmother and I added my own thing and my own special flavors. Then of course my children had their favorites. It really just went from there.”

When McGuire moved with her husband to Ahwatukee several years ago she was looking for a way to meet new people. She took a line dancing class and met some ladies that way, but she still wanted to know more. She decided to host cooking classes from her home and teach people how to make some of her favorite dishes from the Mediterranean.

The first recipe McGuire taught was her grandmother’s marinara sauce.

“The ladies loved my sauce,” she said. “I decided to try to jar it and it has kind of exploded from there.”

McGuire began selling five variations of her pasta sauce at local farmers markets and soon it was picked up by AJ’s Fine Foods. Now, Whole Foods is taking a look at the company so McGuire decided she needed a commercial space to do her cooking.

The space at 12020 S. Warner-Elliot Loop was just right for the commercial kitchen she needed with a small retail space in front. McGuire spends six days a week at the shop cooking up batches of her sauce completely by hand.

“I didn’t expect to be here doing this,” she said. “I’m very busy, but I do love to cook.”

All of McGuire’s sauces are 100 percent natural. She has even hand selected the farms where each ingredient comes from to ensure the highest quality. None of the sauces have any added sugar or unknown ingredients.

“I hope when mothers see how tasty this sauce is, when they’re busy they’ll stop and think,” McGuire said. “You don’t need to be eating fast food. It takes just a few minutes to boil pasta and get a tossed salad going and you have a great family meal.”

For more information on Nonna’s, visit www.nonnassauces.com.

• Contact writer: (480) 898-7914 or ahurtado@ahwatukee.com.

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